This mid-size Nissan sedan has made it on the most popular used cars list for several years running, making it one of the best selling cars in America.

The First Generation (1993-1997)

The 1993 début car that kicked off the Altima series was designed by the Nissan Design Center in California to replace the Nissan Stanza.

Interestingly, the new car wore the “Stanza” emblem of its predecessor on its trunk because Nissan was unable to come up with a model name to submit to US governmental agencies by the Nissan release deadline.

The Altima featured a 2.4 liter, 150 hp 4-cylinder engine, driver’s airbag, and 21/29 mpg, 5-speed Manual or 4-speed automatic transmission, and rear disk brakes, and was presented as an affordable and peppy luxury sedan. The goal was to improve Nisaan’s report with American consumers, and it resulted in an overall rating of 48 within its class during this debut year.


Over the years a few changes have been made to the Nissan Altima over the years:

In 1994 a passenger airbag was added along with 3-point manual seatbelts.

The major changes made to the 1995 Altima were that they changed the grille pattern to horizontal bars (instead of the previous honeycomb design), along with redesigning the taillights and hubcaps.

Nissan decided to keep the same basic design in 1996 and made no significant changes to this year’s model.

The 1997 was about the same except that side-impact door beams were added to a 1997 ½ model after a federal mandate required them.

The Second Generation (1998-2001)

Altima got a whole new makeover in 1998. It shared some of the same basic features, but became available in four trim levels that were powered by 16-valve, 2.4 liter, 150 horsepower engine with 4-cylinders.  Each one, except for the GLE, had a 5-speed manual and optional automatic transmission. Automatic transmission, buckets seats, keyless entry, power accessories, and anti-lock brakes are some of the features that were standard on the GLE.

Only a few changes were made on the Nissan Altima’s line in 1999; the main ones being redesigned windshield wipers, power antennas, and added alloy wheels.

A major makeover took place in 2000 bringing the Altima lineup added features that included available side airbags, cross braces in the engine bay, redesigned front and back fascias, tweaked steering and suspension, rear cup holders, and standard 16-inch tires in the SE and GLE.

There were no significant modifications to the 2001 Altima line.

The Third Generation (2002-2006)

Another overhaul in design happened in 2002 with the Altima growing as a result, with the wheelbase becoming 7 inches taller, and the length increasing 5.7 inches. All models had power windows, standard manual, or automatic, transmission, foldable rear seats, standard anti-lock brakes, side-impact airbags, power door locks, and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel.

The 2003 lineup didn’t change much. The SE got a sunroof, rear spoiler, xenon headlights, and premium audio. The SL became exclusively an automatic transmission car and got wood trim, and heated seats and mirrors.

Altima remained unchanged in 2004.

The SE-R was added to the 2005 Nissan Altima model lineup, bringing with it manual and optional 5-speed automatic transmission, and a 260-horsepower V6 engine. A redesigned interior trim and an optional navigation system were added to all models.

In 2006 no significant changes were made to any model.

The Forth Generation (2007-2010)

Redesigned in 2007, the new models were given a whole new style in appearance as-well-as additional standard safety features. All Altima models received 4-wheel disc brakes (anti-lock with V6 engine models), and standard side and curtain airbags.  The Altima Hybrid was introduced as well, sold only in specific areas of the US, sporting a 4-cylinder engine with a 198-horsepower engine, and no required electrical plug-in.

Splash guards, a Diversity Antenna, and anti-lock brakes became standard in all 2008 models. Satellite radio became an option.

The 2009 Nissan Altima lineup was mostly untouched, with the only change being that they made the Hybrid a little more widely available in the US.

Only a few features were added to the 2010 series including, Standard VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Stability), and a redesigned optional audio system.

Safety and Some Trouble Spots

Over the years these changes have made the overall rating increase from 48 to 63, putting it above many of its counterparts in the same clase. This makes it easy to see why it has grown to be one of the best selling cars in America.